When you partner with Living Water International, the work we do together is about more than water. Sometimes it’s about keeping babies from having their bellies slashed, while helping their parents find redemption in Christ, baptized in water that used to kill them.
Living Water exists so that through our work people might experience living water through the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Burkina Faso, West Africa, we partner with a vibrant church-planting outreach that ministers to Burkina Faso’s Dagara people.
The Dagara are a previously unreached people group. They’re particularly receptive to the gospel’s message of hope and salvation, and water plays an important role in what has quickly become a completely African-led church-planting movement.
When Dagara children are sick to their stomach, their parents bring them to the tituolo (translated witchdoctor, sorcerer or fetisher), a tribal healer. Adults pin the child down, and the tituolo invokes spirits for guidance. He cuts the child’s belly over and over with a razor blade and applies “medicine”—natural elements like ground tree bark, ashes, or bits of termite mound.
People described how children scream and how their mothers can’t hold them close to comfort them afterwards because of the pain from the cuts, and it’s all for nothing. The problem is dirty water. Just imagine the difference it makes to provide clean water and hygiene and sanitation education—and to do it all in Jesus’ name.
Your gift makes all this possible.
The result is a group of everyday heroes who you’ve empowered to usher in one of the most Spirit-filled movements we’ve ever seen. Let us introduce a few of them.
"He cuts the child’s belly over and over with a razor blade..."
Evariste heads up the well rehabilitation program in Burkina Faso. He works within the local church-planting movement to identify communities in need of safe water and help them acquire it. His favorite well is the one in Salipour. The well was sponsored by Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Evariste oversaw its drilling, then he oversaw the construction of a baptistery right next to it—where he was soon baptized!
Yobamcheri is one of the church leaders Evariste partners with. “For years, I was a Christian in secret, in my heart,” Yobamcheri says. His father disapproved of his becoming a Christian, but he was baptized anyway in the Batar River, where he and the people of Nakar Village used to collect their water. Since then, he’s planted 41 churches among his Dagara people. “The wells,” he says, “are proof of our love.”
Rebecca is a living repertoire of Dagara Christian music. When this church-planting movement started in 2002, there were no Christian songs in the Dagara language. Some Dagara speak French, so missionaries had to decide if they would teach Christian songs in French. No, they decided, and they told people that the Holy Spirit might give them a song—and if that happens, sing it! Well, the Holy Spirit must have unlocked the lyrical floodgate for Rebecca. The songs she leads relate to Dagara life in a way no missionary could—songs about Jesus freeing people from witchcraft, curses, idols, and offering new life.
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The church-planting movement gaining momentum from this work is one of the most vibrant we have ever witnessed. The past decade has seen 10,000 Dagara people give their life to Christ. Living Water is just one part, but we are delighted to offer what we’re good at as we come alongside what the Holy Spirit is doing here.
This year, 1,178 new believers decided to be baptized on Easter weekend. Most were baptized in the Batar River near Yobamcheri’s home. “When we get in the water to be baptized,” says Yobamcheri, “we put down the bad things, the quarreling and curses, and we come up ready to be with God forever.” He spoke a lot of leaving behind idols and the curses cast by witchdoctors for pay, meant to harm others.
Easter morning, Kounkiabe Some—mother of two and polio-stricken since the age of three—rode a hand-powered bicycle to the river. She dismounted, then dragged herself to the water’s edge and asked to be baptized. For a woman who can’t use her legs, hauling drinking water from the river was extremely hard. She is thankful that your support provided safe, sustainable, nearby drinking water, but she’s even more thankful for the way she has experienced the Holy Spirit, the living water. And so are we.
"This year, 1,178 new believers decided to be baptized on Easter weekend."
Yobamcheri doesn’t attend Church—he is the Church, and so are you. His well was made possible by supporters like you. You strengthen his ministry. The church-planting movement he is a part of is accompanied by Living Water’s partners, the Richter Family.
Watch Geoffrey Richter talk about his family’s journey on this video of him speaking at Living Water’s annual gala. The Richter family is supported by Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, which partners with Living Water. Our efforts are not separate. Maybe your church will get involved with Living Water. Maybe your involvement will manifest the Church—the Body of Christ.
"Yobamcheri doesn’t attend Church—he is the Church, and so are you."
Be a witness for Christ by giving now. Just $50 can keep safe water flowing for someone for a decade.
Start a fundraising campaign and encourage friends and family to help you reach a goal to serve even more communities.
Click the thumbnails below to download resources: Pray with us for those we serve, together with your family, church or small group, using these printable prayer cards. Share powerful images on social media to spread the word. Use these iPhone wallpapers to take the stories of those we serve wherever you go.
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